July turned out to be busier than we anticipated. Many missionaries we have spoken with said that during the summer fewer churches invite missionaries out to visit because their missions conferences are in the spring or fall. People are also traveling on vacation this time of year. However, God blessed us with two churches where we could share our testimonies and ministry vision in The Gambia.
Sometimes we have people ask how we share about our ministry when we visit other churches. We know what our church does when missionaries come in town but what’s it like in other churches some ask. We have experienced a wide variety of ways that churches handle missions. Each church is unique in the way they look to support new missionaries and encourage their people to participate in missions.
Some churches have a missions conference. Even missions conferences vary in style and duration from church to church. Many conferences start on a Thursday or a Sunday and last for three to four days. Usually they will invite out a few missionaries to preach and share their ministry throughout the week. Many times, they involve the youth in special activities and each missionary will rotate through the youth classes. Other churches may have a conference over a weekend or they may emphasize an entire month for missions.
When we visit a new church to present our ministry it is always a unique experience. If it is a missions conference then much preparation is needed. Patrick will usually need to prepare multiple sermons and lessons for adults, teens, and children. Michele prepares a children’s presentation and is sometimes asked to teach a women’s Bible study. We typically share our testimonies and what God has called us to do in The Gambia. We are always blessed by the enthusiasm that so many at the conference have for missions.
Other churches invite missionaries out to speak throughout the year and have missions conferences. Like our sending church, many do not have conferences but invite missionaries out for a Sunday to share with the people. Even a visit on a Sunday varies significantly. Some will have missionaries on Sunday evenings, others only in the morning, and others will be there for all three services.
We have found that the way individual churches do missions is always different. These differences are what makes God great! He uses churches all over the world to reach people with the good news of Jesus Christ. Each way is different because people are different. Each church is able to reach people in a unique way and plays an important role in God’s great plan. In what ways are you serving in your church’s missions program? Are there other ways God might have you serve?
Pray for our upcoming trips to New Jersey and Ohio.
Pray for the various Bible studies that Patrick and Michele are leading.
Pray that God will give many a passion to reach the lost in The Gambia and the team will grow.
Pray that God would save many more Wolof in The Gambia and new churches would be planted.
Thank you all for your prayers!
Patrick, Michele, Alyssa, Danielle, Luke